A Prayer
of Jesus
I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise
and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will

The Lamb of God
(Misunderstanding Jesus)

By Edgar Jones

The doctrine that identifies Jesus as the sacrificial lamb of God is fundamental to Christianity.  Indeed, it is of the essence of the Christian religion.  That is a prime reason that I no more identify myself with Christianity or accept the designation "Christian."  The doctrine is false, presenting to the world a radical misunderstanding of Jesus and his work.  It is contrary to his Word of Truth and is deceiving multitudes who go down to the pit thinking that their sins have been taken away through their faith in the blood of a sacrifice.  I have discussed this issue already on this site, but its significance as the core deception of all Christendom is so great that it deserves to be revisited again and again.  Christians are without excuse, because the Logos -- the Word of God uttered through Jesus -- is freely available to all in the gospels and needs only to be carefully ingested to be understood.  Instead, they listen to multitudes of other voices that speak only from the darkness of the world.  Yes, these deceptive voices speak even through the pages of the New Testament, where their influence is powerful due to the spread of another false doctrine by the churchmen -- the teaching that the entire Bible is the wholly inspired Word of God. In Truth, only the genuine utterances of Jesus and those texts he validated by his use of them are the True Word. 

I. The Deceptive Voices in the New Testament

Here is a sampling of the deceptive voices speaking from the pages of the New Testament:

John.1  (John the Baptist speaks of Jesus)

[29] The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
[36] and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"

1Cor.5  (Paul identifies Jesus)

[7] Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed.

Rev.5  (John, of the Revelation, characterizes Jesus as the Lamb)

[6] And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth;
[8] And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints;
[12] saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!"

2. A Fundamental Fallacy

The fundamental fallacy is that the death of Jesus was a sacrifice of atonement for sin, bearing the wrath of God on behalf of sinners and thus securing eternal forgiveness for all who place their faith in this supposed atonement.  This doctrine is in evidence throughout the New Testament, except in the Word of Jesus.  However, John the Baptist, Paul and the John of Revelation, cited above, are the only ones that specifically identify Jesus as a lamb.  The others appear to assume this identification without stating it.  James and Jude, the Lord's brothers, are the exceptions.

1. The Prophetic Base for Jesus as the Lamb -- a Fundamental Error in Logic

The New Testament writers take their cue in part from Isaiah:


[7] He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb,
so he opened not his mouth.

It is here that we encounter the first impediment to the doctrine of Jesus as the lamb, because it is evident from a cursory reading that the prophet does not characterize Jesus as a lamb, but as like a lamb.  It is illogical to identify Jesus as a lamb by applying this prophecy to him, because the logic presents him as not a lamb.

How so?

An example of a similar use of the word like will explain:  Like the portrait, she is always smiling. 

This is a sensible statement if we understand that she is not the portrait, but is only comparable to it in some way.  If she is the portrait, the statement is trivial nonsense. Everything is like itself.  So, if Isaiah meant to identify Jesus as a lamb, he should have said that he was a lamb, not that he was like a lamb.  So, taken in the light of common grammar and logic, rather than identifying Jesus as a lamb, Isaiah makes him not a lamb by making him only comparable to a lamb in some way. This statement affirms that Jesus is like a lamb in only one specific way -- he went silently to his death (as a lamb led to the slaughter). 

2. Jesus as the Lamb of Sacrifice

The Christians also base their view on the sacrificial system of the Jews.

Thus influenced, the Epistle of I Peter falls into this same irrational conclusion that identifies Jesus as a sacrificial lamb:


[19] . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

We readily see that this is not an identification -- only a comparison of the blood of Christ with the blood of a the sacrificial lamb -- yet a full reading of this epistle reveals that its author also erred in making comparison to be identification:


(24) He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By his wounds you have been healed.

This is but another echo of Isaiah:


[5] But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,
and with his stripes we are healed.

Having made the comparison, the Prophet, and the early Christians, similarly erred in making it an identification.  Modern Christians follow without question!  They were heavily influenced by the Hebrew sacrifice rituals, according to which the sins of men were laid on a lamb of sacrifice, which then presumably bore the sins.  So, having erred in identifying Jesus as the Lamb of God, they proceed to err in applying to him all the functions of the sacrificial lamb in the Law of Moses.

3. Just Listen to Jesus

The Christians know that the prophets spoke of Jesus as being like both a lamb and a shepherd; they also know that he spoke of his death as being a ransom.  Mistakenly believing him to have been a sacrifice for sin, they see his death as a sacrifice.  They therefore are prone to assert that Jesus is both a shepherd and a lamb, and that his death was both a sacrifice and a ransom.  They err in both points, for in each case, the paired entities make a contradiction with the Word of Jesus  It is not possible that Jesus was both a sacrifice and a ransom, neither is it possible that he is both a shepherd and a lamb.

1. The Sacrifice and the Ransom
Jesus did identify his death (the giving of his life) as a ransom:


[45] For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Jesus would not have given his life as a sacrifice for sin, because
, echoing the prophet Hosea, he clearly asserted that God does not desire a sacrifice:


[13] Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.

 It follows that he gave his life a ransom and not a sacrifice.  I have elsewhere explored the implications of seeking to apply both ransom and sacrifice to his death, but here let me very briefly show how, if it is one, it cannot be the other.

1. A ransom is paid to a captor for the release of his captives, whereas a sacrifice is given to God for the forgiveness of sin. 

2. A ransom is paid to the evil one -- a kidnapper for example, or to Satan for the release of his captives.  A sacrifice is presented as given to God, the righteous one for the forgiveness of sin.

3. A ransom is paid by a non guilty one (the child's parent?).  A sacrifice is offered by a guilty one (the sinner).

4. Summing up, we see that:
A righteous one gives a ransom  to the evil . . . . . one for the release of captives.
A  sinful one . . .gives a sacrifice to the righteous one for the forgiveness of sins.

6. Or, Jesus, the righteous one, gave his life
to Satan (the evil one) as a ransom for the release of his captives.

It was his Jewish enemies and the agents of Caesar, servants of Satan all, who extracted Jesus' life from him; therefore it was to Satan, the evil one, that Jesus gave his life for the release of his captives.  I can only conclude that, since Jesus described the giving of his life as a ransom, it was not a sacrifice and he was not a sacrificial lamb.  The false idea that one can purchase the forgiveness of God by sacrificial offerings will be found, on close investigation, to be of pagan, idolatrous origin.  The Hebrew practice of sacrifice instituted by Moses constituted but one major advance beyond the pagan practice, in that they offered their sacrifices to the one God rather than to many.  As Jesus affirmed, God desires of us mercy, and not sacrifice.

It is not possible that Jesus gave his life as both a sacrifice and a ransom.

2. The Shepherd and the Lamb

As in the case of the sacrifice and the ransom, we encounter a another contradiction when we go to apply both of these metaphors to Jesus, because he was emphatic about identifying himself in his death as a shepherd -- The Good Shepherd:


[11] I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 

Note this carefully: Jesus does not claim to be like a shepherd, but I am the good shepherd!
This is no comparison, but an exact identification.

Simple, Isn't it?   He laid down his life not as a lamb, but he is the Good Shepherd who laid his life down for the lambs.  Again, the Christians have it all tragically befuddled.  Dying as the Good Shepherd, he most certainly did not die as a lamb but only like a lamb


Simply by listening to Jesus and believing him, we have established that he was not a sacrificial lamb and that his death was not a sacrifice for sin. Jesus was mistakenly identified as such by most New Testament writers.  His death by crucifixion was also misunderstood by them.  This conclusion generates more important questions that I hope to address in subsequent papers.  These include:

1. What is the basis for the forgiveness of sins if Jesus did not purchase our forgiveness on the cross?

2. What of the Eucharistic utterances?  Didn't Jesus identify his death as a sacrifice for sin at the Passover meal?

3. What of the Atonement?

As in all cases, we will listen to Jesus as he illuminates these questions.

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